Openness Stressed at OpenForum Europe Summit 2010

Openness was the theme of the OpenForum Europe Summit 2010 earlier this month in Brussels. Speakers included Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda, and Dr. Michael Karasick, vice president of technical and business strategy, IBM Software Group, as well as Don Deutsch, vice president, Standards Strategy and Architecture, Oracle, Prof. Yochai Benkler of Harvard University, and Prof. Nigel Shadbolt of University of Southampton.

Kroes emphasized that choosing open standards is a smart business decision. In her remarks Kroes pointed out that many public authorities have found themselves unintentionally locked into proprietary technology for decades, and over time, there is the risk that the original choice may become so ingrained that alternatives will be ignored despite the potential benefits, thereby wasting pubic money that, in this current economic environment, is untenable. She noted that in her opinion it is a fundamental tenet that public administrations spending taxpayers' money should opt for the least constraining solution that still fulfills the requirements for the specific need.

In his presentation, IBM's Michael Karasick offered the case for why the cloud must be open. The crisis of IT complexity and inefficiency coupled with the global economic crisis has forced public and private organizations to focus on the challenges emerging within their IT infrastructures, he explained.

With the growing pressures on IT environments, cloud computing has emerged as a new model, representing a massively scalable, self-service delivery model which enables processing, storage, networking and applications to be accessed as services over the internet. IBM believes, said Karasick, that governments as well as enterprises will adopt the cloud model to improve staff productivity, deploy new products and services faster and reduce operating costs.